New Orleans Saints Defense Tackle Sheldon Rankins
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, October 26, 2020
Why do you think this run defense has been so consistently good for your unit? What is it about what you do that just makes it so tough?
"Well, I think everybody on our defense comes in with the mindset that we're going to make every team one dimensional, force them to try to beat us that way. And then we just go out and execute, I think our coaches, DA (Dennis Allen), position coaches as well, they put us in great positions to be able to go out there and execute a game plan to be able to stop the run and make teams one dimensional. Then it's just on us to go out there and make those plays and force teams to have to throw the ball."
I was going to ask you about the same thing. And I'm curious how much pride you guys take it in, first of all, this streak that you still have going of no 100-yard rushers. But just in general, the idea that you've developed this reputation as a team that you probably shouldn't even bother trying to run against.
"We take pride in that, I think, especially being an interior guy, rushing the passer is great, I love to do that (with) the best of them, but being able to physically stop another human from moving you off the ball and being able to make tackles in the backfield and stopping teams from being able to truly stick to their game plan. I don't think any team goes into a game saying, 'Hey, we're going to abandon the run after seven or eight carries.' or something like that. So being able to stop a team early and often. And make a team say 'yeah, there's no point of even trying anymore.' That's definitely something I take pride in and my fellow d-line teammates take pride in as well."
Is there any trade off? Because you guys have had some inconsistency in other areas on defense, but I mean, is there any trade off to devoting that much effort to stopping has led to vulnerable in other areas? Or that's not the case?
"No, I don't think so. I think, listen, we're just, as far as it goes stopping the run, we're just kind of clicking on all cylinders right now. So we've just got to kind of get everything else corrected and fix little things here and there. And once we get those things clicking on all cylinders as well, our defense will be exactly what we expect it to be. So no trade off, I think we bust our ass to do everything right on defense, stop the run, defend the pass, rush the passer. So it's just still some things we've got to correct. We always say, 'It's a beautiful thing to be sitting at 4-2, and still feel like you haven't played your best football.' So I'm very excited about that. And we'll continue to move forward and correct those things and get everything on the right page."
Three straight wins for the team. What have you seen overall, throughout the team, that you feel like you guys have done consistently to get those three consecutive wins?
"I think the big thing that pretty much anybody can see is how we fight the adversity. We've dealt with some, whether it be starting down 14-0. Five minutes into a game, you're down 14-0, nobody wants to start a game that way. And whether it be yesterday, we felt like we were getting off to a fast start and then a few plays here and there and they're right back in the game, but we we're able to weather (the) storm. I think Sean (Payton) always talks about how you've got to find a way to win that game. Every game is not going to be come in and roll the ball out there and just be able to go out athlete, people or just hang 40 points on everybody. You've just got to find a way to win that specific game, however it is that you've got to win it and we've been able to do that over the last couple of weeks. So just continuing to do that while continuing to play better and certain aspects. We'll be right where we want to be."
What was it like seeing your college teammate (Teddy Bridgewater) yesterday and trying to get to him?
"Teddy is just a shifty as he was when I was chasing him around in Louisville, when I was chasing around here. It's definitely good to be able to compete against that guy. It was my first time I've actually done that. So it was definitely fun to go out there and compete against him. I was able to get a good shot on him. I was surprised he held it that long, but I appreciate the quarterback, Teddy, if you're watching this, I appreciate it. But yeah, I mean, it's definitely good to go out there and compete against him. But even better to come away with the win against him."
What do you say to him when you hit him?
"I didn't say anything. He got he kind of laughed a little bit, but that's Teddy. He's going to take it all in stride, he loves to compete as much as I love to compete. So he definitely took it all in stride."
I am assuming most of the time, the offense is on the field, you guys are not really necessarily watching them, you are getting ready for what you have to do. But when they're in a two minute drill, are you paying more attention than usual? And what did you think of that drill Drew (Brees) put together at the end of the first half yesterday?
"I mean, I will say I am always watching as much as I can just because you never know what type of stuff is going to happen. Alvin (Kamara) may cut across the field two or three times and go for 80 or, like you said, Drew with his pinpoint accuracy knowing exactly where to go with the ball down the field. As many times as I've seen it, it's still in that game atmosphere still amazes me to this day. So (I'm) glad he's my quarterback."
Technically, no shimmies yesterday, but you had that quarterback hit and that big tackle for loss there. How confident do you feel in your abilities now that we're midway through the season, and you have the injuries behind you?
"Yeah, listen, for me, it's all about improving each and every game. I think each and every game I see flashes of the guy who you guys are accustom to seeing, I'm accustom to seeing and the guy who I'm continuing to grow and try to become again. I was talking to somebody yesterday, I've just got to continue to put it together, got to continue to stack those moments, stack these days and eventually, it'll be clicking, and I'll be rolling and doing everything I want to do. It definitely feels good to be able to go out there and make big time plays for this team. I've just got to continue to work my ass off, do everything I need to do to stay healthy and those plays with the teams will continue to come for me."
I'm wondering how familiar this season is beginning to feel relative to the last three just considering how there seemed to be a similar early season stumble. And then the team increasingly kind of built off of that.
"I mean, we don't ever plan for early season stumbles or anything like that, but like I said, adversity to start a season is nothing new to us. We've faced it before. We know what it takes to get on a roll and start winning some games. And like I said, we know that each and every game is going to be different, we've got to find a way to win that specific game a certain way, whether it be coming up with a stop, like we were able to do yesterday. Marcus (Davenport) with that big time sack kind of putting them in really backed up field goal range. If he doesn't get that stack, then it's maybe a more manageable field goal for that guy to be able to come through and make. Whether it be a shootout where Drew (Brees) has to go orchestrate a two-minute drill and be able to, win a game for us. I think adversity is nothing new to us, we've always found a way to weather the storm. And we'll continue to get better and continue to fix the things that need to be fixed. And we'll get on a roll here."
You just mentioned that sack. I'm curious was there any acknowledgement before that play or in the huddle of specifically what a sack would do for you guys in that situation, not just getting off the field on third down, but backing them up as well? And how big of a play was that for everyone involved?
"Yeah, in that type of situation, we're always looking for a sack or turnover, those are the two big things that, in that moment, we're talking about, we're echoing across the front. Linebackers and secondary where like, we've got to come up with this play. For Marcus (Davenport) to come up with that play, obviously, him getting back on the field and being a playmaker for us, it couldn't have come at a bigger moment. Like I said, that's a play that really kind of put them in that field goal range where it was going to be a tough one for that guy to make and he was just short. So that was a big time play."